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Statement of Guiding Principles

Waterford Hospice (WH) shall agree and make known its own Donors Charter which will include the following commitments. WH may expand on these commitments as befits their organisations mission.

Commitment to Donors

Donors have the right to be assured that their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given. WH shall respect the rights of donors to be informed about the causes for which WH is fundraising; to be informed about how their donation is being used; and to have their names deleted from mailing lists or databases if so requested.

Use of Donations
In raising funds, WH will accurately describe its activities and needs. WH's policies and practices will ensure that any donations received will be used solely to further the organisations mission. Where donations are made for a specific purpose, the donor's request will be honoured. If WH invites the general public to donate to a specific cause, then WH will have a plan for handling any shortfall or excess.

Donors have the right to be informed of the status and authority of those soliciting donations; for example, donors will be informed if fundraisers are employees of the organisation or third party agents.  

Organisational Independence
WH will record and publish in the Annual Report and the Statement of Annual Accounts details of individual gifts, including gifts-in-kind; where WH judges that those gifts may be construed to have the potential to influence the independence of the organisations decision making.
While an organisation is not obliged to accept anonymous donations, where anonymity is requested by a donor this will be respected if the donation is accepted, however the other details of the gift will be recorded and published (such that anonymity is preserved).

Third party fundraisers
WH will seek to ensure that any donations sought indirectly, such as through third party agents, are solicited and received in full conformity with the charity's own standards and practices. This will normally be the subject of written agreement between the parties.

Volunteer fundraisers
WH's management shall ensure that the organisation has a policy for its activities involving volunteers, including the relationship and communications with volunteers and how volunteers are managed.

Complaints and feedback procedure
WH will put in place procedures to enable interested parties to notify the organisation of their wishes, comments and complaints. These procedures will include systems to ensure that all feedback (including especially any complaints) are responded to and addressed within a specified timeframe. Public or donor queries or complaints should, in the first instance, be addressed by the Administration Manager at WH. Where the organisations response does not satisfy the complainant, s/he will have clear information about the next level of the complaints procedure, which will be directed to the Chairperson. All matters of illegality should be addressed immediately to An Garda Siochana.

Financial controls
WH's internal financial control procedures will ensure that all funds are used effectively and will minimise the risk of funds being misused. WH will follow the principles of best practice in financial management. An Annual Report and a Statement of Annual Accounts figures will be freely available to the public.

Human resources
WH's human resource policies will conform fully to relevant national and international labour regulations. These policies will seek to apply best practices in terms of employee and volunteer rights and health and safety at work.

WH will adhere to any equality legislation and will not tolerate discrimination in any form.

Appointment of external auditor
WH's Senior Management shall appoint an external auditor or independent examiner as appropriate to audit/examine the annual accounts.

Conduct of Fundraisers
Fundraisers and their organisations commit to:

  • Conduct themselves at all times with integrity, honesty and trustworthiness. They will act at all times openly and in such a manner that donors are not misled
  • Respect the dignity of their profession and ensure that their actions enhance the reputation of themselves and WH
  • Act according to the highest standards and visions of WH and its overall Mission
  • Disclose if they are employees of WH or third party agents
  • Not knowingly or recklessly disseminate false or misleading information in the course of their professional duties, nor permit their subordinates to do so
  • Not represent conflicting or competing interests without the consent of the parties concerned
  • Not knowingly, recklessly or maliciously injure the professional reputation or practice of other members of the fundraising profession
  • Not knowingly act in a manner inconsistent with these standards, or knowingly cause or permit others to do so
  • Not exploit any relationship with a donor, prospect, volunteer or employee for personal benefit or misuse their authority or office for personal gain
  • Comply with the laws of the land which relate to their professional activities, both in letter and in spirit
  • Advocate adherence within their organisation to all applicable laws and regulations

Responsibilities of Fundraising Management
Those responsible (or their designate, whether voluntary or paid) for organising specific fundraising campaigns or fundraising activities, or who are responsible for managing others who organise such fundraising campaigns have a range of responsibilities in order to meet the commitment to donors and fulfil the principles and standards. Amongst those responsibilities, Fundraising Management must:

  • Be responsible for ensuring that fundraisers are aware of and can generally communicate the purpose of the organisation and of the specific fundraising efforts they are involved in
  • Be responsible for ensuring that fundraisers are aware that they must disclose if they are employees of the organisation or third party agents
  • Provide, where possible, clear and adequate, written or verbal, information to the public about any relevant follow-up including telephone procedures
  • Have procedures to ensure that, wherever possible, particular caution is exercised when soliciting from people who may be considered vulnerable
  • Ensure that, where paid, fundraisers are remunerated by such methods that will avoid the incidence of pressure on the potential donor to donate
  • Where events organised in WH's name are not known by WH until after the fact, WH will work with that fundraiser to ensure they are aware of the standards expected and that the fundraiser will apply them to any future events they hold for WH
  • Where donations are raised through electronic means, for example through WHs websites, the level of security applied to such websites shall be of a sufficient standard to protect the confidentiality of donors credit card and other personal details
  • Be responsible for ensuring that paid fundraisers are remunerated within the minimum wage regulations
  • Ensure all public collections have a Garda permit, or where no permit is necessary, permission from the relevant authority
  • Ensure there is signed confirmation that data are kept securely and confidentially and in compliance with the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003
  • Ensure that the recruitment process screens potential recruits to indicate suitability (subject to data protection regulations)
  • Where remunerated, ensure fundraisers are legally entitled to work in the jurisdiction
  • Be responsible for ensuring that, where paid, all fundraisers and third party agents are given appropriate contracts, to include a clause stipulating their compliance with this Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising and with any legal requirements that apply
  • Ensure that appropriate training, education and information is available to fundraisers to enable them perform their roles effectively
  • Be generally responsible to explain to the public how fundraising is organised and to help educate the public about the realities of resourcing charitable organisations. Where specific questions are received these should be answered openly and honestly. The principle of informing WH in advance and adhering to these standards will be highlighted as much as possible by the organisation.

Council/ Board and Senior Management Responsibility
The ultimate responsibility for meeting the standards of the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising lies with WH's Management. The Management are responsible for ensuring that WH is able to and does fulfil its commitment to best practice in fundraising.
The Management of WH are accountable for WH's fundraising activities as follows:

  • By promoting the existence of the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising and other relevant Codes to the public, donors and supporters
  • By ensuring a feedback mechanism is in place whereby anyone can comment on the fulfilment of the standards outlined in the Statement
  • By ensuring that the charity's commitment to best practice in fundraising is communicated in all public policy statements by stating same in relevant public communications (annual reports, website, policy statements, governance documents, leaflets and communication materials etc)
  • Where relevant, by putting in place training and development opportunities for relevant staff and volunteers
  • By ensuring that all relevant suppliers and contractors are informed about and contracted to adhere to the standards in the Statement in any fundraising work on behalf of WH
  • By assessing WH's fundraising strategy on a regular basis according to the guiding principles of this Statement
  • By including reference to adherence to the Statement in the guiding principles of WH
  • By ensuring that senior management take responsibility for implementing and adhering to the Statement
  • By being open to WH engaging in setting sector standards, including feeding back their experience on these standards and participating in the development of future standards
  • Fundraising exists only to support the overall mission of the organisation in question. Therefore the Management of WH are accountable to the organisations beneficiaries, service users, clients, donors, funders, volunteers and staff for the organisations overall performance

The Management shall therefore ensure:

  • That the activities of the organisation are focused on achieving the objectives set out in the organisations charter, and that these are translated into a vision, policy, strategies and budget
  • The organisation's expenditure is handled in a transparent, effective and efficient manner, in line with an agreed annual plan and budget, and according to a predetermined process for evaluating and taking decisions on the allocation of funds
  • Fundraising is handled in a transparent, effective and efficient manner, in line with an agreed plan and according to methods that are deemed socially acceptable
  • The organisation has adopted a policy for activities involving volunteers, including their relationship and communications with volunteers and the method of managing volunteers
  • The organisation has the means to adequately control the way it functions and to alert it to, and to cope with, any risks in good time

Honest Communication
Communications between WH, the public and potential donors shall be governed by the following guiding principles:

  • There shall not be any incidence of misleading and/or ambiguous information in any of WH's fundraising communications
  • It shall be made clear at all times as to whether the fundraising in question is for the organisation in general or for a specific purpose
  • Where examples are mentioned in relation to the general purpose of the organisation, they shall be clearly highlighted as examples. There must be a close relation to those examples that are used and the actual cause for which the organisation is collecting
  • The organisations name, logo, address, telephone numbers, web address and charity registration number, as well as its general purpose, shall always appear on fundraising material
  • Where more than one organisation is collecting together, the names, logos, addresses, telephone numbers, web addresses and charity registration numbers of all organisations must appear on the material in question and must be made known to the donor or prospective donor
  • Donors or prospective donors must be made aware if fundraisers are employees of the organisation or are third party agents
  • In the case of personal approaches in a public place, where the prospective donor is not known to the fundraiser, the fundraiser shall carry visible identification which includes the organisations name, logo, telephone number and charity registration number, as well as the name of the fundraiser, so that the donor will never be in doubt about the organisation s/he is donating to
  • In the case of telemarketing, the individual fundraiser must inform the prospective donor of the organisations name, as well as be in a position to disclose the name of a contact person in the organisation
  • At all times in the case of face-to-face, door-to-door and telemarketing fundraising, the individual fundraiser shall be able to state the purpose for which the funds will be used. In the case of face-to-face and door to-door fundraising, this can be in the form of printed material that is given free of charge at the request of the prospective donor
  • In the case of face-to-face, door-to-door and telemarketing, fundraising, the individual fundraiser should have a general knowledge about what the organisation works for. It is not required that the individual fundraiser possesses a detailed knowledge about projects, governance or administration etc but s/he must be able to inform the prospective donor of where they can find the supplementary information
  • Particular care must be taken when fundraising from children and young people
  • Compliance with data protection legislation in the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (and any future Acts) and the guidelines issued by the Data Protection Commissioner relating to direct and inter-active marketing, including direct mail, telemarketing and fax, SMS text etc shall be followed at all times
  • If it is not intended that collected items such as clothing or other articles be sent directly to the clients or beneficiaries of the organisation but for example are to be sold instead, this must be made clear to the donors
  • Where all of the proceeds of an event are not going to the cause/ charity this should be made clear in the language used
  • In the case of a project reaching the maximum requirement of funds, then the organisation and its fundraiser(s) shall clarify what any eventual surplus will be used for
  • In the case of WH being in receipt of funds restricted to certain purposes or projects and where WH cannot realistically apply the funds within a reasonable timeframe to that purpose or project, WH may allocate those funds to a purpose as close as possible to the original intended purpose. This change should be communicated to donors generally, and, where practical the specific donor or donors (or their designates) should be informed

Images and Messages
Best practice in communications affects the entirety of the organisation, and not just fundraising. Accordingly, in all public communications and where practical and reasonable within the need to reflect reality, the following principles shall be applied:

  • Choices of images and messages used in fundraising communications will be made based on the paramount principles of respect for the dignity of the people concerned and a belief in the equality of all people. WH will strive to choose images and related messages based on values of respect and equality, and to truthfully represent any image or depicted situation both in its immediate and in its wider context
  • WH will avoid images and messages that potentially stereotype, sensationalise or discriminate against people, situations or places. WH will use images, messages and case studies with the participation and permission of the subjects (or the subjects parents / guardian)
  • WH will ensure that, where possible, those whose situation is being represented have the opportunity to communicate their stories themselves
  • WH will, where possible, establish and record whether the subjects wish to be named or identifiable and always act accordingly
  • The visual images chosen to represent a fundraising project or campaign will be consistent with the other messages about the project
  • All promotional material shall be presented as clearly and accessibly as possible, following appropriate best practice guidelines
  • The fundraiser will be familiar with the standards and guidelines of the Advertising Standards Authority which stipulates that all communications should be legal, decent, honest and truthful

Financial Accountability
Financial accountability goes to the heart of transparency and is a dimension of fundraising and charity management that is understandably of great public interest. It is reasonable to expect that when charity regulation is in place the regulators remit will focus considerably on financial accountability. At the moment, some charities voluntarily apply financial reporting standards, namely the Charities Standard of Recommended Practice (Charities SORP). Charities that are companies limited by guarantee must comply with company law and some unincorporated charities voluntarily comply with those standards.

As part of financial accountability and in preparation for the proposed legislation, charities that are not companies limited by guarantee should consider applying the following financial reporting standards:

  • WH must produce an Annual Report and a Statement of Annual Accounts; it must be made publicly available every year. The draft Bill proposes publication within ten months of year-end
  • The Annual Report and the Statement of Annual Accounts shall give a summary overview, and depending on the nature of the work, may contain information where applicable about the previous years development, with regards to:
    • Significant income and expense items
    • Significant balance sheet items
    • Number of members of staff and of volunteers
    • Number of local, national or international activities, including a representative indication of the types of activities carried out
    • Number of paid subscribers /members
    • Identify salaries, rental costs and any other significant operating expenses
    • Other significant key figures
  • In relation to the Annual Report and the Statement of Annual Accounts, management shall be in a position to clarify the accounting practices detailed therein
  • Any contributions from parent organisations, collaborative partners or public grants shall be disclosed in the Annual Report and in the Statement of Annual Accounts
  • Any contribution which may be construed to have the potential to influence the independence of the organisations decision making shall be disclosed in the Annual Report and in the Statement of Annual Accounts
  • WH should be in a position, on request, to provide net income figures for their major public fundraising events
  • If terms such as Fundraising in full goes to or All monies raised go to have been used in WH's fundraising campaign, those funds must be accounted for separately by the organisation
  • WH shall make a statement on its application of the Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising, either confirming that it has complied with the Statements principles, or, where it does not, providing an explanation

Monitoring & Compliance
To be meaningful, the standards must be actively monitored and any cases of non-compliance addressed promptly and proportionally.
A Monitoring Group, made up of the charities sector with a majority of independent members and an independent chairperson, will be established to actively monitor usage of the Codes of Good Practice and to deal with complaints. In the context of the establishment of a Monitoring Group the following approach is recommended:

  • WH should establish a complaints procedure. Complaints from the public or donors on the operational aspects of fundraising should in the first instance be addressed to and investigated by the organisation
  • Where a complainant is not satisfied with the organisations response to their complaint, they may take the complaint to the Monitoring Group, who will investigate the complaint and propose remedial action